Brunch at The District

Ye-Gon: I love me some brunch – or I should say, I love the idea of brunch. What I romanticise as a feast of tantalising flavours to wake up the senses, taking in the late morning sun in plushy outdoor couches, in the presence of friends looking sharp and bantering even sharper, topped up with excellent coffee, usually turns out to be a choice between the same old fry-up or a boring muesli that more resembles breakfast for my cockatiels, on uncomfortable furniture under harsh indoor lighting, with people who are half-asleep, hungover, or both. (Usually the coffee’s still okay, though.) Sleepy people and drunk people I can’t change, but what I do have a say on is the venue and the food they serve. So, how does The District, a Te Rapa local favourite, fare?

While the cafe is tucked away from the main stretch of Te Rapa and the only visible signpost shares real estate on a tall mall-type sign with its co-tenants, it seems to enjoy a fair bit of foot traffic, or at least a general awareness amongst the public, thanks to the 24-hour gym that lives in the same building. The exterior is best described as subdued but classy and contemporary, and it’s a look that mostly carries indoors past the really heavy door which I remarked upon both entering and exiting. Some would consider dark and dingy, but I think it carries a nice sense of style, if perhaps a little bland. The full service bar behind the counter is a nice splash of busy colours, although predictably it wasn’t in much use at 10am in the morning. Continue reading “Brunch at The District”

Tron Bites’ Guide to Cambridge: The Stables

Larissa: So this was my second visit to stables and I, once again, thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Ye-Gon: I’ve been here once or twice before as well, but it’s not one that’s stuck to my memory. The menu seems like a nice balance. I wouldn’t call it casual, but it’s not overly high-brow either, and they have a rotating specials board.

Larissa: It isn’t by any means fine dining, but the quality of meals are good and the atmosphere is great for a social catch up. I really like the room at stables. They have put a lot of effort into their decorating and their tables are laid out well. The staff were all friendly and I enjoyed their taste in music! Continue reading “Tron Bites’ Guide to Cambridge: The Stables”

Sampling tapas at La Parrilla

Ye-Gon: Natalia and I are sitting inside La Parrilla, arguably the crown jewel of the Skycity Co-Op. There’s an acoustic guitar rendition of Summertime crooning through the speakers, and the glass of tempranillo in my hand fills the air with aromas of cherry and almond. The wine relaxes with every sip, as does the décor which is best described as a tapestry inspired by the colours of Spain. And as the food arrives one by one, I prepare myself for the oh-so-tedious burden of tasting delicious food and living to tell the tale. Continue reading “Sampling tapas at La Parrilla”

News Roundup: September 2017

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We try out the new menu at Ember


Ye-Gon: It’s been almost two years on since the launch of Ember, and in my mind it’s tragically underappreciated by the folks around town now as the day it opened. It remains unheard of or way down on people’s priority list as far as restaurants go, which is understandable; there’s a lot of good places to try in Hamilton. But it’s still a crying shame, since Ember is a great place, where the menu really brings something new and different, and everything is executed meticulously.

Their new menu, at face value, is a bit of a departure from their previous style. Gone are the selection of tacos, gone are the sandwiches (at least from dinner service), and gone is my favourite, the brisket feijoada. Overall, the direction of the menu is away from South American influence, and towards sterility. It’s not a direction I agree with, but it wouldn’t be fair to write them off now, especially given their track record.

Continue reading “We try out the new menu at Ember”

Dumpling Showdown: Dumpling House vs Nancy’s

Everybody was jiaozi fighting

Ye-Gon: Dumplings are great. They’re fun to look at. They’re fun to eat. They’re even fun to say. Try it. Dumplings. Dummmmplingggs.

While to us it’s often seen as a treat or an entrée item at a Chinese restaurant, dumplings remain a significant side-staple in many parts of China, where these morsels in all kinds of shapes and sizes are sold on the street as on-the-go meals for passers-by. And when it comes to dumplings in Hamilton, two spots stand out with their claim to hand-made dumpling supremacy. In the blue corner, hailing from the Claudelands roundabout, the Dumpling House, and in the red corner, nestled within the hustle and bustle of Victoria Street, Nancy’s Dumplings & Buns. So, how do they stack up? Continue reading “Dumpling Showdown: Dumpling House vs Nancy’s”

Malaysian Takeaway at Red Pot Kitchen

You were the chosen one

Ye-Gon: It’s always nice to see a new place bring something different to the table, and few things could get me as excited as the idea of having a Malaysian joint within minutes of my house. Malaysian food is probably not the most familiar cuisine to most people; there’s Josh Emett’s spot down Sapper Moore-Jones Place, but it’s not exactly the most accessible or affordable affair. Malaysian food is a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Indonesian culture, and it’s an eclectic and harmonious mix that celebrates a rich tapestry of influences.

The Red Pot Kitchen has been open for about a month by the time my sister and I tried the place out for lunch. The warmers were nearly empty, save for the fried rice and noodles, plus some siew pao and curry puffs. A sign indicated that rendang, curry and all the good stuff will be served from 4pm, which really makes me wonder what the reasoning behind opening from 11am is at all. So, it’ll be two visits to this place to try out their meatier affairs as well. Continue reading “Malaysian Takeaway at Red Pot Kitchen”